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  Sean Spicer Calls Georgia Race Outcome a Big Loss for Democrats  CSPAN  April 19, 2017 12:13pm-12:44pm EDT

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absolutely no cash crop there. but nuclear weapons would immediately put money in the leadership's pocket. and when that goes, then it won't be as observable. and the threat will be much broader. >> yes. i couldn't agree with you more. and by the way, thank you for your work under president reagan. but that's why -- another reason why i would do a freeze as clearly unacceptable for the very reason you mentioned. they have the scientists. they have the capability. and let's face it, they have the history of doing exactly what you just mentioned, which is trying to sell their technology and expertise gain revenue. >> you can watch the rest of this recorded event on c-span.org. we take you live to today's white house briefing with press secretary sean spicer.
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>> good afternoon, everyone. thanks for joining us a little earlier than normal today. i want to make sure that the pool has plenty of time to set up for this afternoon's major event. i'm excited to announce that next monday on april 24th at 10:00 a.m. eastern time the president will speak via video conference with the commander of the international space station, peggy witson and her fellow astronaut jack fischer. in 2008 she became the first wo woman to command the international space station and on monday will break the record for the most time spent in space for any american astronaut. the president, joined by his daughter ivanka and astronaut kate ruben will discuss the importance of encouraging women to pursue careers in s.t.e.m. fields, science, technology, engineering, and math.
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as you're all aware, in addition to signing the nasa transition authorization act, the president also recently signed the inspire women act, which ensures that nasa continues recruiting women for important s.t.e.m.-related jobs in aerospace, an effort that's particularly important for this president. we're working closely with nasa and the department of education to make this conversation available to classrooms throughout the country. the department of education will also be providing tools for teachers to build lessons around. this conversation between the president and these two outstanding americans who are orbiting 220 miles above their heads. the call will air live on nasa tv and stream on nasa's website and facebook page. and while we're on the topic of upcoming events, i'd like to note that the president will welcome palestinian president abbas for a visit to washington on may 3rd. they will use the visit to reaffirm the commitment of both the united states and palestinian leadership to
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pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict ending settlement between the palestinians and israel. we'll have further guidance on that visit as we get closer to the date. in terms of additional announcements, the president will be giving the commencement address at the coast guard academy on may 17th. as we grow closer to that date, we'll continue to provide updates. moving along to current events, this morning the president signed an important piece of legislation for our nation's veterans. veterans choice program extension and improvement act eliminates the original sunset date on the veterans choice program, which gives veterans who are unable to schedule an appointment at a v.a. facility in a timely or convenient manner the ability to receive care from an eligible non-va health care provider. using funds that have already been appropriated for this program, this gives our nation's heros the peace of mind they deserve while this administration works with congress to enact comprehensive reform and modernization at the
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va. the vice president is continuing on his international tour today. on tuesday he spoke to 2,500 service men and women on the deck of the uss ronald reagan in japan, thanking them for their service and discussing the president's plan to rebuild our military. he then met with and delivered remarks to japanese business leaders and stopped by a youth baseball clinic before leaving japan. he's scheduled to land in jakarta, indonesia, right about now. we'll have further updates on his travels the rest of the week. this week is also national park week and secretary of the interior ryan zinke is currently in california meeting with rangers at five national parks. on monday and tuesday he was at channel islands national park, where he led a class of junior park rangers, and today he'll visit golden gate national recreation area. since being sworn in on march 1st, secretary zinke has met with rangers at nine national parks. he'll make that ten outside
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charlottesville, virginia, next week. every american has had the opportunity to participate in the celebration of our nation's parks. they are free of charge this saturday and sunday. anyone who's interested in finding a local park or information can go to nps.gov. and finally i know moments ago the president announced he'll be holding a press conference next thursday to discuss the progress that's being made on behalf of our nation's veterans. we'll have further updates on the guidance for next week. with that, glad to take a few of your questions. john? >> couple of unrelated topics. first of all, georgia's 6th congressional district, the fact ossoff pulled in five or six percent more than they thought, there's a lot of moderates beginning to emerge in the south to a greater degree, that the republican party needs to pay attention to. i don't imagine that the outcome of the runoff is in that much question, but does senator graham have something there the
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republican party needs to pay attention to changing demographics? particularly the senate. >> well, i think you know that based on my former position, we talked about changing demographics in -- throughout the country and made significant headway in doing that. i think in large part that's why we won. we had been talking about how the republican party had won at so many different levels of our country, but the presidency eluded us. this president got 306 electoral votes, won 30 of 50 states over 2,600 counties. i think we did pretty well in november, and we've continued to pick up seats around the country at different levels, so i feel very confident about the state of the party. >> the fact ossoff came so close to 50%? >> again, i would just looking at the facts, there was one candidate on the democratic side, they spent over $8 million on -- one they backed. let's -- and i think when you look at the total republican vote, it was over that.
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this is a district that was very close on the presidential level last cycle and the democrats went all-in on this. they were clear going into this election, they said their goal was to get over 50%. they came up short. if you look at what his percentage of what it was presidentially, it pretty much tracks. i think this was a big loss for them. the bottom line is, they went all-in on it. they said their goal was to get over 50%. they came up short. >> unrelated issue, tillerson's letter to pale ryan on the jcpoa in iran. is the united states basically saying there's no evidence that iran is cheating on the jcpoa? >> no, i think what the letter says is that the president is directing an interagency review of the deal, as to review that, and we have 90 days before the next one comes up. we'll have more. but right now we're undergoing a 90-day review and the statement that was made to congress clearly stated that the
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president is directing the national security council to lead an interagency review of the plan and evaluate whether suspension sanctions related to iran pursuant to the jcpoa are in the vital interest of our national security. that's -- the letter clearly lays out what the president's going to do to make sure that they are living up to their agreement. >> is the president concerned iran may be cheating on the jcpoa? david albright says they are developing a new centrifuge. >> i think that's why he's asking for this review. if he didn't, if he thought everything was fine, he would have, you know, allowed this to move forward. he's doing the prudent thing by asking for review of the current deal of what's happening. >> on the uss carl vinson, what happened? can you take us through the events from the perspective of the white house that led to the miscommunication, this administration thinking this vessel was thousands of miles away from its location? >> can you repeat the last part?
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>> can you take us through the events that led people in this administration believed this vessel was thousands of miles away from its location? >> pay-com put out release talking about the group ultimately ending up in the korean peninsula. that's what it will do. i think we were asked very clearly about the use of a carrier group in terms of deterrence and foreign presence and what that meant. that's what we discussed. i would refer you back to any other issues with that to the department of defense. >> does the president believe he might have spoken too quickly on this location of the vessel before it was actually -- >> president said we have an armada going to the peninsula, that's a fact, it is happening. >> shaun, just to follow up on that, you know, obviously with the president of the united states says there's military hardware going to a region in the middle of a crisis on the korean peninsula, the allies of the united states are encouraged. when that happens to not be the
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case, they can interpret that is a false encouragement, so how is this white house explaining to south korea and japan that, in fact, during the build up and the actual initial launch there was no uss carl vinson? >> respectfully, jessica, i would ask to either touch base with pay-com or department of defense. the statement put out was it is headed to the korean peninsula, it is headed to the korean peninsula. >> headed there now, wasn't headed there last week. >> that's not what we ever said. we said it was heading there, and it was heading there, it is heading there, so that remains -- >> allies have -- >> i -- if there's an impression, then that's not -- there should have been clarification from people who were seeking it, but pay-com put out a release talking about what its ultimate destination was going to be and that's where it ended up. katelyn? >> why did the administration never clarify? definitely the intent of media
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reports was it was headed there now. >> with all due respect, that's not my -- we were asked a question -- >> no, no, that's not true. what i was asked was what signal did it send that it was going there, and i answered that question correctly at the time, that it signalled foreign presence, strength, and reassurance to our allies. that's a true statement. you're asking me why you didn't know better. i don't know. that's a question that should have been followed up with either pay-com or the department of defense. the only question that we were asked was what signal it sends and we answered correctly at the time. >> don't you think it was misleading? no one found out until a picture was posted on the page. >> what part is misleading? we were asked a question about what signal it sent. we answered the question. i'm not the one that commented on timing. >> what's misleading is people thought it was headed there now and now it's headed there weeks later. >> i understand the question, but what i'm getting at is, it was announced that it was going,
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it will be there. we were asked simply a question on that. i think all other questions should be asked of the department of defense. john? john? >> thanks a lot, sean. earlier today it was said china is increasingly frustrated with north korea and north korea, you may have seen it, put out a simulated video over the past 24 hours which shows its missiles attacking, destroying an american city. what's the american white house reaction to that video and also to the comments by china's foreign ministry spokesperson? >> first part, this isn't the first time north korea has put out propaganda tools, and i don't think we're going to comment every time they put out a piece of propaganda. second, i think it's encouraging to see china continue to move forward and join us in this effort to control north korea. i've commented before, i think the relationship that the president started building with president xi down in mar-a-lago is clearly showing some positive
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signs. china continues to have both economic and political influence over china, and so i think it's important to see them heading in this direction. i think it's a very positive sign to see them play a larger and larger role. i think it's in everybody's interest to contain north korea's actions. >> how strong is that influence, though, if foreign ministry spokesman for china, which the president is depending on for this particular encouraging, is saying he, himself, china itself, is frustrated, increasingly frustrated with the north koreans? >> well, again, from an overall diplomatic sense, i think it's a positive to see china continue to take positive signs aligning with the position we have on this. that's a positive thing. i think that time will tell, but i think seeing a unified effort to contain north korea's threat is a positive threat to protect not only our national security interests, but those in the
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region. john? >> thank you, sean. a few weeks ago i asked you about the president's upcoming visit to rome and whether or not he would have an audience, and i pointed out this is something that's a part of modern history going back to 1959 when president eisenhower had an audience with pope john xxiii. you said it was something you'd definitely be in favor of. a few days ago "the final times" reported that sources within the administration said this was very unlikely to happen and that for the first time since nearly 60 years ago the president would not have an audience with the pope. why? >> so right now at this time, obviously, we headed to both brussels and sicily. if we have updates on the schedule and we're still plenty far away, i'm sure that we will
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let you know about any additional stops. >> are you in touch with the holy city about -- >> i appreciate the effort, but i think until we have an update, i'm not going to go there. francesca? >> thank you, sean. back on iran and the state department's letter to congress, there's been some talk about stricter sanctions on iran for the ballistic missiles test that it's been conducting and state finance of terror. are you concerned that tougher sanctions on iran would violate it to -- sorry, motivate it to violate the nuclear deal? >> well, i, obviously, any action that we would take, if we did, is something that gets vetted through the interagency process and all of those kind of considerations are taken in terms of trying to achieve the affect that we want, so sanctions have been an effective tool in many cases and i think that as we've mentioned, a lot of times the president doesn't telegraph what actions he's going to take, but as we conduct review of options available in
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this situation, we go through the interagency process and have different entities. >> sure, but in consideration of those potential -- >> obviously, we're well aware of any potential negative impacts that an action could have, so regardless of whether it's an economic, political, or military action, you always weigh all those kind of options. george? >> sorry, one small follow-up on that. the president has said, though, that he would like to see the nuclear deal renegotiated with iran. how specifically does he plan to get a new deal? is that something that he still wants to do? >> again, that's why we're undergoing this interagency review. part of this is to get the entire team to look at it as part of the next 90 days. review that is required under the deal. so we will have recommendations that will be presented to the president on where the deal stands and how to act further. george? >> thanks. looking ahead to the 100-day mark and setting aside executive
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orders, can you say what the single piece of legislation that you are proudest and you got through congress that was on the president's agenda? >> well, a few things on that. number one, we're not done. we have a little ways before we hit the 100-day mark. i think what you've seen out of this white house is a very robust agenda of activity. there's a lot of executive orders that i think the president's been pleased with, not only what they've done or will do, but when you look at immigration in particular, we see a very significant drop at the border. i think on jobs there's been a lot of activity we've been very proud to see american manufacturing and job creation. but then there's pieces like what we did today that i think if you're a veteran who served our country, to know you have additional options to get health care in a timely manner, or a geographically friendly manner, so you're not driving hours, is very helpful and a strong symbol
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of how we treat our veterans. there's a lot the president has done on veterans, on immigration, on regulatory reform, as i mentioned here, we're now at a dozen congressional review act pieces of legislation that have been signed that have had, i think, a very positive impact and will have a very positive impact on job creation. when you -- and i've noted before to you that only one had ever been signed in history before. that's a pretty significant achievement for this president and, obviously, when you look at the confirmation of neil gorsuch to the supreme court, that's another one. there's a lot, and, again, we'll obviously spend some time talking about this next week, but i think we're very pleased with what the president's accomplished and as he noted yesterday in wisconsin, the amount that he's done overall has been significant. zeke? >> thanks, sean. first, on the potential for government shut down, is the president -- is the budget supplemental the white house
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requested a month or so ago included defense cut and discretionary spending, nondefense, include funding for the wall, is the president going to insist that cr, that will be necessary to keep the government open after next weekend? will include all of those priorities, or would he accept a flat cr that would just continue the status quo? >> obviously, we're having those discussions, have been ongoing with house and senate leaders as we approach this deadline. but as you correctly point out, the president's priorities are very well known what he wants to do in terms of both military and homeland security. but i think that to start negotiating in public will probably not be a very prudent thing to do as we get closer to that deadline, so i just -- i respectfully, we're days away, you'll have plenty of time to see what's in there. >> sorry. late last night the committee released its list of donors,
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filing period, it included, you know, lots of money from corporate donors, many who have business before the administration, president who ran on drain the swamp slogan concerned about the perception, certainly, but also any -- potential for any real conflict of interest between some of those donations coming into and supporting his inauguration? >> i think this is just like a campaign in the sense there's disclosure on this for a reason so you know what's happening. i think funding the inaugural committee has pretty much been a nonpartisan activity that is going back, every administration going back through administrations, so this is a time honored tradition. i think a lot of americans and companies and entities are proud to support inaugural and i think that you see that over time the people who have been -- there are a lot of people who really take pride in helping us show
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the world a peaceful transformation of power. richard? >> thank you, sean. i want to go back to yesterday -- >> you want to go back, huh? >> the president said about the issue with the local dairy producers, dairy farmers, that the white house was going to work on that very hard, admittedly, actually starting today, that's what he said. calling canada and asking for solution. has the white house been in contact with anybody in canada, in ottawa? >> i'll have an update for you, hopefully, at some point on that. i'm well aware of the president's comments on that. i think it's a very important issue for people in wisconsin and the president looks forward to following up on that. all i will say is the president will make sure we follow up on that. >> quickly, he said on nafta he wants very big changes or we're
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going to get rid of it once and for all. are we at that point, very big changes or no -- >> we'll see what pans out in the negotiation. i think there's an opportunity -- can i just -- i think i got this, but thank you. maybe. all right, thanks, man, i'll see you in a minute. >> hey, sean -- >> hold on one -- all right. that was cool. real quick, how do you follow that? just to john's point, i just want to make sure i note we will be reaching out to the vatican to see if a meeting, an audience with the pope can be accommodated. we'll have further details on that. obviously, we'd be honored to have an audience with his holiness. david, sorry, i called on david first. >> thank you, sean. what's the white house reaction to the deportation of the dreamer from california, kind of the first one to be sent back? >> i think that situation is
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evolving right now. there's a lot of things that are being looked at in terms of the circumstances around that, and i'd ask you to stay in contact with the department of homeland security. again, i think that i don't want to comment right now in the sense there are some circumstances regarding that. i think that need to come out or be further looked into and i think getting ahead of that could be an issue. i just respectfully would say i don't want to rush to judgment. i think there's a lot of additional details that are coming out about that issue and i think the department of homeland security is probably the best place to get updates. okay, halle. >> two topics, one is a follow up. i want to ask about -- two quick ones on that. is the president planning to campaign for the republican challenger there, will he go to georgia to get out the vote? >> i don't know. if needed. i think the president's going to make sure he does everything he can to maintain majorities and further the party, but we'll see
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if we're needed. >> is he committing too much political capital on a race republicans should be winning easily? >> you know, it's interesting. i thought that some of the coverage was a little intriguing as i watched it, that the democrats went all-in on this race. they spent over $8.3 million. they said on the record their goal was to win this race. they lost. and the reaction has somewhat been, you know, that they almost won. no, they lost. they made very clear what their goal was in this race. they spent $8.3 million and threw everything, including the kitchen sink at it, and lost. >> right? >> no, not in terms of what their stated goal was. they said their goal last night was to win the race with over 50%. they spent $8.3 million. they didn't run for a runoff. they ran to win last night and they lost. anything short of describing that as a loss is -- is sort of inconceivable to me in a sense that's literally what they said their goal was to do and they
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said we want to win tuesday night with over 50%. they came up short of their goal. they put all the money they had in their, all their fire power, and they came up short. so it's a loss. and there's no other -- >> second topic about deportations and i'm not speaking specifically to this case, but there seems to be a little confusion, so if you could clarify, what is this president's position on undocumented immigrants living in this country who have not committed serious crimes? >> i think the president's priorities on immigration have been clearly laid out. first and foremost, he wants to make sure people who have committed a crime or posted a threat to public safety are dealt with, first and foremost, and we'd continue to address immigration going forward. >> what is the -- >> i guess my question is, those who have not posed a threat. >> as i said, the goal and the focus has been on people who pose a threat to national security or in some other way in violation. >> not posed a threat --
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confusing to me. >> i would respectfully suggest in this particular case, the facts are not completely out yet, so i'd rather not jump to judgment on what's happening. mara? >> thank you. i just want to get a little more clarity on iran. is it the president determined to pull out of this agreement as he promised during the campaign, or will that decision be determined by this review? >> i think part of the review, the interagency process, is to determine where iran is in compliance with the deal and to make recommendations to the president on the path forward. >> so he might or might not decide to pull out? >> i think that's why you undertake -- >> this decision has yet to be made. >> that's why he's doing a review. >> that was a campaign promise. >> right, and i understand it. the point that i'm making is that he asked the interagency team to conduct a review as the secretary laid out in the letter last night. anita? >> sean, two questions on one
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issue. my colleague who's currently in columbia has learned that the president met with two former presidents of columbia last weekend at mar-a-lago. i think it was set up by senator rubio's office. two questions. first, some people were saying it's to undermine the current president's visit next month, so two questions. one, why was that not released publicly to the press, to the pool at the time, and secondly, can you talk a little bit about the point of that visit and do you all stand by the columbian -- >> yeah, i'll be glad to look into the circumstances. i don't have anything for you at this time, so i will get something -- >> didn't happen? >> i'm unaware of the circumstance -- >> so can you get back to me on the policy issue, but why not release that if that's the case? >> again, i don't know that's the case. until i know, i think it would be tough to answer the second question. thank you guys very much. we'll have an event for you tomorrow. take care, have a good one.
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here's a look at our primetime schedule on the c-span networks. starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, a look back at the confirmation hearings for members of president trump's cabinet. on c-span2 it's "book tv" with authors that have recently spoken at book festivals around the country. and on c-span3 it's "american history tv" with the opening ceremony of the museum of the american revolution. this week on "q & a," the book "the american spirit: who we are and what we stand for." a collection of his speeches going back to 1989. >> the 21st century senator
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that's been written about the most is joe mccarthy. there's a dozen books, but none about the senator who had the back bone to stand up to him first, margaret j. smith. >> do you remember how you went about preparing for that speech? >> i go about it, hardest i've ever worked on anything i've ever delivered from a podium. >> historian david mccullough on his book "the american spirit," a selection of his speeches going back to 1989 sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a." sunday night on "after words," congressman ken buck of colorado, also a member of the freedom caucus, discusses his book "drain the swamp: how washington corruption is worse than you think." >> when you arrive in d.c. and you have the surroundings that i've described earlier, you get very comfortable in that situation, and you don't want to give up those comforts. and the way to continue to earn
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those comforts is to spend more money. and to grow government, and to not solve problems, but to create programs and take credit for those programs, whether they are efficient, whether they are effective, to take credit for those programs. so many of the members of congress are here, it's the best job they've ever had, it's the highest paying job they've ever had, and it's a job that they don't want to give up, and so their re-election is more important than the actual problem solving that needs to go on in d.c. >> watch "after words" sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's "book tv." next, remarks from senator ben cardin on legislation targeting anrr